Indianapolis, IN — Indiana was so close to clinching its fourth straight home win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last night, but 6-foot-9 Brittney Griner stood in the way of that. It may have taken the Phoenix center five minutes to get on the board, but once she put one through the basket, the shots kept coming.
Griner, who is leading the league in scoring this year, achieved a career high 32 points for Phoenix the last time they played the Indiana Fever. This time, she topped that record with 38 points. In addition, Griner bagged nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal – ultimately, leading her team to a 98-90 victory in overtime.
“The Fever have been playing well these last few games, but we were ready for them. What can you say? Brittney Griner, she’s played great all season long and we know she’s very reliable,” said Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello.
In the teams’ first meeting of the season on May 17, the Mercury dominated the Fever 85-62.
Having home court advantage, and being 3-0 at home so far this season, Indiana (3-5) was confident they could redeem themselves with a win. However, the Mercury (5-3) had Griner on their side, who is a force to be reckoned with.
Griner was hot in the first half, tallying 23 points and going 9-of-13 from the field. In the third quarter, the 26-year-old played limited minutes because of foul trouble, which allowed the Fever to gain an edge and cut into Phoenix’s lead.
“Don’t foul out,” said Griner. “That was the biggest thing that stood out to me. Not fouling out.”
The teams went neck and neck in the fourth quarter, tying it up at 78-78, with five minutes of overtime to battle it out. Griner quickly made up for lost time, nailing eight of Phoenix’s first 10 points in overtime, and two more on top of that.
“B.G. (Brittney Griner) tonight was just a monster. That’s pretty much what she’s been doing all year,” said the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi.
“To shoot it over Griner, that’s pretty tough,” said the Fever’s Erica Wheeler. “She’s what, 7 feet? There’s just no defending that.”
Despite Wheeler scoring a career-high 24 points for Indiana and Candice Dupree landing a regular season career-high of 23 points, the Fever just couldn’t measure up to the fierceness of Griner.
Indiana will remain at home as they face the Seattle Storm on Friday, June 9th. Phoenix will travel back to Talking Stick Resort Arena as they prepare to host the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, June 10th.